Super Thin Display Makes Your Skin Your Screen

Researchers in Japan have created a 3-micrometer display that looks like plastic wrap and can make any part of your skin into an electronic display. The idea isn’t new, but this display is far thinner and more durable than previous devices. It also lasts longer (several days) and has increased brightness.

The display uses polymer LEDs to form a seven-segment digit, so you aren’t going to stream Netflix to the back of your hand anytime soon.  However, the team wants to build more advanced displays that could one day replace smartwatch or smartphone screens.

Polymer LEDs, as the name implies, use large molecules (polymers) as a semiconductor. Introduced in 1990, they have many useful properties–like flexibility–for an application like this one.

If you are interested, you can build your own polymer LEDssomething we’ve covered more than once. You can see a video of the skin-thin display, below.

28 thoughts on “Super Thin Display Makes Your Skin Your Screen

  1. With his hands in the pockets
    of his jacket, he stared through the glass at a flat lozenge of
    vatgrown flesh that lay on a carved pedestal of imitation jade.
    The color of its skin reminded him of Zone’s whores; it was
    tattooed with a luminous digital display wired to a subcutaneous
    chip. Why bother with the surgery, he found himself thinking,
    while sweat coursed down his ribs, when you could just carry
    the thing around in your pocket?

    1. Yep. Straight out of cyberpunk. :D Imagine a display like this, that you just slap on in the morning, and it communicates with some kind of biosensor suite you already have implanted, to display information about your general well-being. (Hell, just imagine something that constantly displays like…glucose level or something!)

      1. Continuous glucose monitoring is a awesome thing. I have spent more then my fair share of time in a type on diabetic camp as a counselor/cook/IT Guy. Oddly enough, my beta cells still work.

      2. It’s a bless for people with diseases like diabetes. Luckily most healthy people just feel themselves if they feel well. So except when I would get something like diabetes, I would not like to have implanted devices. Of course also thinks like artificial joints are a good thing, if my own, biological ones do not work any more.

    1. Except tablets arn’t a scam yanked from kickstarter and (presumably) indiegogo. The Circet Bracelet video (which is clearly using some bad motion tracking,) appeared on youtube on October 30th 2014, was part of a kickstarter campaign that was nuked once people started questioning the authenticity of the video. Guillaume Pommier even admitted it was just a ‘mockup video’.and there was no functional prototype. It’s continued to be marked a scam. At one point Pommier, an an effort to get more money out of people, made another video showing a ‘working’ protype with what is clearly just a commercially available pocket projector velcro taped to his wrist.

        1. There are laser based pocket projectors, which at least do not need to be focused on a given distance. They produce sharp images also on curved surfaces – like the white T-shirt on my belly, when we tested it a few years ago. :-)
          But I don’t know, if that was used in that video or would even work in that special situation.

      1. But let Dan Brown write a novel full of mock facts, send it off to Follywood, and it’s a hurricane of cash as people stampede to the box office to accept it as gospel truth.

        1. People really don’t go to the movies because they “accept it as gospel truth”, they go for entertainment. Now, if a certain subset have a difficult time keeping the [religious] fiction they follow separate from the [religious-seeming] fiction they see on the screen… well, that is their problem.

  2. “the team wants to build more advanced displays that could one day replace smartwatch or smartphone screens”

    Do people really want this though? I’ve heard of body modification such as the implanted neo magnet, and the rewritable tattoo implant, but it really hasn’t taken off as far as I can tell.

  3. If it can be developed to the point of displaying an image rather than segmented displays then I can see this being useful as a rollup display.

    I can’t imagine wanting to wear one though. It lasts for three days? So a user would have what is essentially a piece of plasticwrap on their skin for three days! Think of the sweat and bacteria that would gather under there! It would be like wearing a cast.

    1. I think they meant the display breaks down, and stops functioning, after three days. You don’t have to wear it all that time!

      Obviously this will need increasing, til it lasts for years, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

    2. Oh, and talking of casts, the huge lumps of leg-cheese that came off when I had the cast taken off my leg after a few weeks… Didn’t really smell bad, but it’s amazing how much skin must normally flake off as you walk about.

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